He could tell Dean. Of course he could. Dean would listen.
Dean would listen for as long as it took Sam to eke out the horror and misery and never-ending fear of the things he couldn't see in the dark.
Of course Dean would listen.
But Sam couldn't find the words.
Another night. Another nightmare. Sam lay in bed, heart pounding, skin crawling, feeling as much as seeing the hideous malformity of wailing evil, fire and flesh and souls in torment that formed the distortion of a face, glaring and leering, making grotesque promises of grotesque things in the darkness.
A nightmare. A memory.
No. Not a memory. He didn't want it to be a memory.
He could tell Dean. He could go to Dean's room and wake him up and Dean would listen. He'd wake up, he'd sit up, he'd listen to what Sam had to say. Every last word.
But Sam couldn't find the words.
He sat up and pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes and waited until he couldn't feel his heart in his throat. He needed to sleep. He wanted to sleep. Maybe some whiskey. Maybe a lot of whiskey.
Maybe – maybe – maybe.
Nothing helped. Nothing ever helped. Every night the horrors came or they didn't. Sleep would come or it wouldn't. There was no pattern, no predicting what would set the horror loose. Sometimes he slept. Sometimes he didn't.
He always remembered.
He could tell Dean. Of course he could. Even if he couldn't find the words, Dean would listen to whatever Sam was able to say. Dean would listen even if he wasn't able to say anything at all.
Because there were no words.
He left his bed and left his room and stood in the hallway. He blinked against the bright lights, and even in the bright lights the image of grinning, depraved, absolute evil sparked behind his eyelids.
He could tell Dean. Even if he couldn't find the words.
The kitchen was to his left, the library was to his right, and Dean's room was only around the corner from where he was standing right now.
He could go to the kitchen and heat some milk to drink or food to eat or swallow as much whiskey as it took to not open Dean's bedroom door and wake him up and tell him nothing.
Maybe he could drink enough to finally find the words.
He took the longer way to the kitchen, past Dean's room, through the library to get the bottle of whiskey and into the kitchen to sit at the table and not eat anything or drink anything and only stare at the bottle, trying to not think of, remember, see the grinning, foul face of evil burning into his eyes and his mind and his soul.
He could tell Dean. Even one word would be enough.
If he could think what that one word would be.
He sensed it before he heard it, bare feet on a tile floor, the lowest kitchen light flicked on, Dean behind him.
"Thought I heard you wandering the halls," Dean said. Said it as though he'd been awake all this time and only happened to come into the kitchen just now. He flicked on the coffee maker and pulled a cup from the strainer. "What's up?" he asked. "Other than, you know, us."
There were no words.
"Couldn't sleep," Sam said and the words stuck and he cleared his throat and tried again. "I couldn't sleep."
"Yeah." Dean set the cup down and set himself next to Sam, leaning back against the table, facing one way, Sam facing the other. "We'll figure out a plan, Sam. All right? We will."
Words crowded Sam's mind then, 'Will we? How? When? Will it be enough? Will it be too late?' He only echoed Dean, "Yeah."
Dean eyed the bottle of whiskey. "It's that bad?"
"It's pretty bad," and the words stuck again but he didn't repeat them.
"You wanna talk about it?"
The offer wasn't snarky, it wasn't out of the blue or out of the ordinary. It was Dean and Sam could tell him.
But there were no words.
Dean sighed and stood up, got his coffee, pulled another cup from the strainer, shrugged a shoulder to the hallway. "I don't know about you, but I could binge some Netflix. C'mon, bring the bottle."
He didn't wait, he didn't look back, he headed down the hall, whistling, twirling the empty cup around his finger. Sam followed, turned off the coffee pot, switched off the light, followed to his room to find Dean in the chair next to the bed, Lord of the Rings already starting on the TV.
There were words Dean knew without being told.